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Sifting Through the RFOG

The cable industry may have just gained another acronym

Alan Breznick

October 22, 2007

1 Min Read
Sifting Through the RFOG

Guess what, folks? The cable industry may have just gained another new acronym, courtesy of the tech gang at Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS).

It's called RFOG (for RF over Glass). Speaking late last week at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) 's Business Services conference in Atlanta, Mike Emmendorfer, senior director of solution architecture and strategy at Arris, suggested the technology as one option for cable operators to deliver bandwidth-rich services to commercial customers. He argued that offering Docsis 3.0 features over RFOG lines rather than conventional cable HFC plant could resolve any lingering concerns about coax capacity.

So exactly what is RFOG? Turns out it's simply fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), dressed up under a different name. In a technical white paper submitted for the conference, Emmendorfer proposes using fiber overlays and extensions to the customer premise as a good way to offer the up-to-100-Mbit/s symmetrical data speeds that Docsis 3.0 promises.

Emmendorfer also sees RFOG as a way to combine the best of RF and passive optical network (PON) technologies, enabling cable operators to use their existing headend infrastructure while removing all active network plant elements. And he contends that MSOs could use the combo to cut their service group size to just 32 homes per optical segment. "It's all future-proof," he said.

Will the new acronym make the cut? Too soon to tell. But Glenn Russell, director of business services for Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) , seems to like it. Following Emmendorfer to the podium, Russell termed it "one of the better acronyms I've heard this year."

Which leaves one to wonder... What were the real losers like?

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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